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Expert shares tips to protect against aggressive dogs after 4 attacks in Greater Houston area in past month – KPRC Click2Houston

Corley Peel, Reporter
Corley Peel, Reporter
HOUSTON – In the past month, an 83-year-old man was attacked by two large dogs near Katy. A 74-year-old woman was injured after being attacked by seven dogs in Liberty County. An Aldine boy was mauled on a school bus and a woman near Tomball was killed after being attacked by her own dog.
KPRC 2 stopped by the Houston Humane Society to find out what someone should do if they see an aggressive dog coming their way. We spoke with Behavior Enrichment Manager Kymee Bair.
“Generally, when you see a dog coming your way, you want to scan your environment. Look for things maybe you can get behind like a car or trash can, or a nearby building,” said Bair.
Bair carries a bag of pet safe tools when she goes on walks in case an aggressive dog approaches her or her dog.
It includes a pet corrector spray. It’s a can of compressed air that is sprayed to startle an aggressive dog. Bair said an air horn can also help.
“If the dog is coming at you in an actively aggressive manner, I would definitely resort to the air horn because that’s going to be a really loud blast and allow you that couple seconds to look away,” said Bair.
Bair said a bite stick can help break up a dog attack. A good at home tool is an umbrella. Bair said opening the umbrella can scare off a dog.
If you’re with a dog, or just by yourself, Bair recommends never touching a dog that you don’t know.
Knowing “how to read a dog” is beneficial to know if a dog is in attack mode.
“When a dog is probably going to close distance, you’ll notice their ears will be forward set on their head. A lot of times you’ll see wrinkles over their eyebrows. So that means they’re very alert in what’s going on. Their tail will usually be held up over their back and be very stiff. And when I mean by stiff is the dog looks like a statue,” said Bair.
Bair addressed common mistakes people make when they see stray dogs.
“A lot of time stray dogs or dogs that have been in homes, have either been dumped or escaped. They are used to people so a lot of times when you see these dogs, their tails are tucked, their ears are back. They’re giving a lot of fear signals, they’re licking their lips, they’re trying to avoid you a bit,” said Bair.
Bair said dogs commonly resort to fight or flight.
“Hopefully, we see the flight part where you approach them, and they go “Bye” like I’m out of here. A lot of dogs will resort to fighting so they feel the only way to get you to go away is to come at you with aggressive behavior, barking, snarling, snapping, and sometimes biting,” said Bair.
It may be tempting, but Bair suggests not approaching a stray or unknown dog, even if it has a collar.
“You never want to run away and you don’t want to turn your back. Because when you turn your back, that can trigger a prey response and they can come at you,” said Bair.
Bair suggest that dog owners with aggressive dogs use positive reinforcement-based methods. She said those methods are scientifically proven to help dogs with behavioral issues.
Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.
Corley Peel is a Texas native and Texas Tech graduate who covered big stories in Joplin, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida before returning to the Lone Star State. When not reporting, Corley enjoys hot yoga, Tech Football, and finding the best tacos in town.
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